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SWLA Open Office Event – Busy as Always!

Posted on July 11th, 2024 -

It was great to see members old and new attend our open office event! We all had a lovely time catching up with everyone (and enjoying the cream tea of course!).

We hope to see you all again at our next get together, which is a General Speaker Meeting at the Future Inn Hotel on 16th October 2024. 

Angela Rayner Appointed as Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Posted on July 5th, 2024 -

Angela Rayner has been made Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The department, which has responsibility for housing issues, has reverted to its former name having been changed to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities by the Conservative administration.


Image from BBC News, PA Media

Source; bbc.com/news

New SWLA Member Discount Provider!  – Beacon Blinds

Posted on June 28th, 2024 -

As Plymouth’s largest blinds showroom, Beacon Blinds stocks a comprehensive range of blinds, curtains and awnings. They are a local blinds supplier providing great value solutions to homeowners and businesses in Plymouth, Plymstock, Plympton, Tavistock, Ivybridge, Saltash, Liskeard, Totnes, Kingsbridge & South Hams.

Offering 15% discount on complete blinds (excluding special offers or promotions) and a 10 % discount on spare parts.

Free measuring and installation service still applies to this offer.

Proof of SWLA membership must be produced at point of sale for discount to apply.

Beacon Blinds – 263 Beacon Park Rd, Beacon Park, Plymouth, PL2 3JP. 01752 787666.

To view the range please visit www.beaconblinds.co.uk

SWLA Open Office Afternoon

Posted on June 26th, 2024 -

Notice of a General Meeting

 Open afternoon in the SWLA Office

Wednesday 10th July 2024 – 3pm – 6pm @ 30 Dale Road, Plymouth PL4 6PD

Come and meet staff, committee and other SWLA members.

There will be a cream tea for you to enjoy while you chat!

All welcome.

 We hope you will take the opportunity to pop in.


SWLA Meet with Peter Gold, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Posted on June 20th, 2024 -

The President and Chairman met with Peter Gold (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport. Central to the discussion were items on Reform’s Contract regarding ‘Scrap Section 24 for Landlords’, ‘Abolish the Renters (Reform) Bill’, and ‘Reform Social Housing Law’.

E-Bike Battery Fires on the Rise – Gov.uk Release Safety Guide

Posted on June 12th, 2024 -

The news has been awash with reports of E-Bike battery fires and in this tragic case, the deaths within a young family; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cd11gnqp27wo

If your tenant charges an E-Bike in their home – provide them with the following guide;

Battery safety for e-cycle users

With their ability to enable more people of all ages and abilities to cycle, or to cycle further, e-cycles are an important element of the government’s ambition for active travel to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

While most e-cycles are very safe, as with all products using lithium batteries, there is a risk of fire, particularly for counterfeit, damaged or poorly modified e-cycles and batteries, or when the incorrect charger is used.

Lithium battery fires can be particularly dangerous and hard to extinguish. The following advice should help to limit the risk of fire.

Fire safety guidance

Electrically assisted pedal cycles, or e-cycles/e-bikes, have an electric motor to help you pedal.

Riders must be at least 14, but no licence, special equipment or insurance is needed to ride one, provided that the e-cycle meets certain rules, which specify, for example, that the motor must have a maximum continuous rated power (250 watts) and motor cut-off speed (15.5 mph).

Modifying the motor or battery will increase the likelihood of a fire.

Modern e-cycles are generally powered by lithium batteries and are normally supplied with a battery charger that plugs into a normal household mains socket.

Although most e-cycles and their batteries are very safe in normal use, lithium battery packs can, particularly if of poor quality or when damaged or improperly used:

  • cause serious, rapidly developing fires that are very hard to extinguish
  • generate toxic fumes and may cause injury or even death, alongside significant property damage to your home

This guidance comprises advice from:

Buying an e-cycle

It’s safest to buy a complete e-cycle, with battery pack and charger included, from a reputable retailer.

Register your product with the manufacturer. This makes it easier to contact you in the event of a recall or safety alert.

Be especially careful when purchasing second-hand, refurbished or converted bikes. It can be hard to establish reliably whether such products are counterfeit or genuine, and whether they meet proper UK (or EU) standards. Look for CE or UKCA marking.

Buying replacement batteries and chargers

If you need a spare battery pack or charger, buy only genuine items authorised by the e-cycle or drive system manufacturer. Using a reputable supplier will reduce the risk of being sold counterfeit items. Genuine battery packs and chargers may cost more, but using third-party items that may not be safe or compatible could put your life at risk or destroy your home.

Be cautious about buying used e-cycle battery packs. Whether or not any physical damage is visible, the battery could already have been damaged or abused and pose an increased fire risk.

Buying an e-cycle conversion kit

E-cycle conversion kits are products that turn a conventional cycle into an e-cycle.

Although the concept may seem attractively affordable, the fact that the kit is retro-fitted, often by the end user, to a cycle not designed and tested for this application, means that buying a complete e-cycle is generally a safer option.

If you decide to buy an e-cycle conversion kit:

  • ensure that the cycle you intend to fit it to is in good condition, able to take the additional weight and that the brakes have more than adequate stopping power
  • purchase from a reputable seller and a recognised brand
  • check that the kit complies with the UK e-cycle regulations and with British or European standards, by checking that it comes with a Declaration of Incorporation as ‘Partly Completed Machinery’
  • be aware that if buying components such as battery packs and chargers separately, it’s impossible to be sure they are compatible and safe when used together. Incompatible battery packs and chargers can cause an extremely high fire risk

DIY e-cycle kit installations have been found to sometimes result in damage to the kit, increasing the chances of battery failure and the likelihood of a fire. Note that the person who installed the kit is liable for the product’s safety, even if they’re a private individual, so an incident could have serious financial consequences. If possible, instead have the kit installed by a professional/competent person who is properly insured for this work.

Modifications, de-restriction and dongles

Some users may be tempted to modify e-cycles (or cycles converted into e-cycles by a kit) to exceed the speed or power limits (15.5 mph and 250 watts) for a legal e-cycle.

Users should be aware that if an e-cycle is modified to exceed these legal limits, it becomes an unregistered motorbike in law. If you use such a vehicle on the road you could face a fine and penalty points on your licence and the vehicle could be impounded. You are also unlikely to be covered by any insurance.

Even if carried out without introducing direct electrical hazards, such as short circuit risks through poor wiring/connection, modifications of this type generally increase the electrical load on the battery and drive system. These may then overheat, substantially increasing the risk of fire.

Where to store and charge e-cycles

Do not charge an e-cycle or battery pack where, if a fire breaks out, it could prevent you from safely leaving your home.

Avoid storing or charging e-cycles on escape routes or in communal areas of multi-occupied buildings.

Ensure everyone is aware of an escape plan in the event of a fire.

If possible, store and charge e-cycles and battery packs in a shed or garage separate from your home.

As far as possible, do not charge batteries or store your e-cycle near combustible or flammable materials.

If you charge or store your e-cycle inside your property, ensure you install suitable fire detection. Fire services recommend heat alarms rather than smoke alarms for garages or kitchens. Ensure you have working smoke alarms in other rooms. Avoid excessively hot, cold or damp areas, especially for charging.

Charging an e-cycle

Use only the charger supplied with the e-cycle, or a replacement authorised by the manufacturer.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for storage, charging and maintenance of your battery pack.

Do not overcharge your battery – check the manufacturer’s instructions for charge times and unplug your charger once the battery has charged.

If it’s hot after intensive use, let the battery cool before charging it.

It’s vitally important that you charge batteries only while you’re awake and alert so that if a fire should occur you can respond quickly. Do not leave batteries on charge while you are asleep or away from the home.

Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging as this could lead to overheating and possibly fire.

Batteries should never be exposed to extreme temperatures (keep them out of direct sunlight when not in use).

Do not overload socket outlets or extension leads. Use extension leads uncoiled and ensure the lead is suitably rated for what you are plugging into it – especially if using multiple chargers at once, or other electrical loads.

Be alert, both while charging the battery and while using the e-cycle, for any of the warning signs listed below, and know how to act if you detect a fire hazard.

Warning signs for fire risk

The warning signs that your e-cycle battery could be a fire hazard include:


It’s normal for batteries to generate some heat when charging or in use, but if it feels extremely hot to the touch, it may be defective and at risk of fire, so stop charging it immediately.

Bulging, lumps and leaks

A battery bulging or swelling out of shape is a common sign of it failing. You should stop using it immediately. The same applies if there is any type of lump or leak from the device.


Failing lithium batteries have been reported to make hissing or cracking sounds.


A strong or unusual smell (which could be toxic) from the battery could be a sign that it’s failing.


Failure to fully charge, or longer charge times, can be a sign that your battery is failing.


If your battery or device is smoking, a fire has already started. Raise the alarm, get out, stay out and call 999 immediately.

If you see signs that your lithium battery could be a fire hazard

If your battery shows any of the warning signs listed above but is not smoking or on fire:

  • immediately turn off and unplug the charger
  • if possible, carefully move the e-cycle and/or battery pack outside away from people, pets and combustible materials or to a location where risks would be minimised if the battery were to catch fire
  • check for safe disposal options as detailed below or call the device manufacturer or retailer for further instructions

If the device starts smoking or catches fire:

Damaged batteries

Battery packs can be damaged in use, most often by dropping them or in a crash.

Damaged batteries can catch fire rapidly and without warning. Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage. If you suspect any damage, you should replace the battery. Do not charge or use it.

Disposing of a lithium e-cycle battery

If you need to dispose of a damaged or end-of-life battery, do not dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling. These batteries can cause fires in bin lorries and at recycling and waste centres.

The manufacturer or importer of your e-cycle must offer a free take-back service for waste e-cycle battery packs. Contact them for details or ask the retailer where you bought the e-cycle. Alternatively, check with your local authority for suitable battery recycling arrangements in your area.



New SWLA Member Discount Provider!  – Marks Electrical

Posted on June 10th, 2024 -

For over 35 years, Marks Electrical have been selling the best of appliances and televisions to over a million satisfied customers.

Marks Electrical are offering an exclusive 5% discount to SWLA members.

Award winning service

Most companies claim they provide an award-winning service but at Marks Electrical, they really do. In addition to their awards, they have also been recognised by Google for the excellent shopping experience they provide, their reliable on-time delivery and their excellent customer service.

Knowledgeable staff

Their fully trained sales team have an intricate grasp of stock and are happy to put their product know-how to the test. Call on their expertise anytime by visiting the showroom, picking up the phone or sending them an email.

Price match

Marks Electrical prices are rarely beaten, but they will match a price if you find it cheaper elsewhere online. They will even match sale prices!

They also provide a Next Day Delivery Service and an Installation Service.

To shop, please visit www.markselectrical.co.uk or call 0116 251 5515



Leasehold and Reform Act

Posted on June 10th, 2024 -

Whilst the Renters (Reform) Bill did not complete its passage. The Leasehold and Reform Act is now law and will come into force. We will advise members when the Act comes into force.

What is included in the Act?

Once the Act is in force, the legislation aims to strengthen consumer rights by:

  • Banning the sale of new leasehold houses so that, other than in exceptional circumstances, every new house in England and Wales will be freehold from the outset.
  • Making it easier for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy their freehold, and make standard lease extensions 990 years to reduce the need for repeated extensions.
  • Excluding ‘marriage value’ when calculating the premium on lease extensions.
  • Standardising the format of service charge demands so leaseholders have greater transparency about what they are being charged.
  • Making it easier to access redress by requiring freeholders who manage their property to belong to a redress scheme. Currently only managing agents need to belong to a scheme.
  • Removing the requirement to pay the freeholders cost when exercising their enfranchisement rights, making it easier to buy the freehold.
  • Setting maximum time limits for providing home buying and selling information, and setting a maximum fee providing this information.
  • Giving homeowners on private and mixed tenure estates comprehensive rights of redress, so they receive more information about what charges they pay, and the ability to challenge how reasonable they are.
  • Scrapping the presumption that leaseholders pay their freeholders’ legal costs when challenging poor practice.
  • Banning ‘opaque and excessive’ buildings insurance commissions for freeholders and managing agents, replacing these with transparent and fair handling fees.
  • Removing the requirement for a new leaseholder to have owned their house or flat for two years before they can extend their lease or buy their freehold.

What is not included in the Act?

A cap on ground rents, this was not included.

In addition to this, new flats will remain leasehold by default. Initially, the Act was expected to make commonhold the default tenure for flats.

A number of amendments aimed at resolving the unfairness of the Building Safety Act were also not included.

Article Abridged from NRLA



What would the PRS look like under a Labour government?

Posted on May 30th, 2024 -

On Wednesday 15 May 2024, the Labour Housing Group hosted the launch of the report of the Independent Review of the Private Rented Sector.

The Labour commissioned report proposes a major overhaul of the PRS, including compulsory registration/accreditation for landlords and the implementation of rent controls.

The full report can be read here; https://labourhousing.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Independent-Review-of-the-UKs-Private-Rented-Housing-Sector.pdf

The Labour Housing Group say;

”In January 2023 the Labour Party announced that Stephen Cowan would conduct a widespread independent review of the PRS, looking at how to make plans for reforming private renting work in practice. Stephen has taken evidence from a wide range of professional bodies, academics, policy think tanks and commentators, trade unions and renters’ groups, and political groups and politicians. 

The resulting set of proposals has the potential to transform the private rented sector in the UK, giving tenants more choice and control over their homes, greater security, the right to make their home their own and most important of all, the right to live in a home fit for human habitation.”



TradePoint/B&Q up to 25% off Home Refresh Products – From Friday 31st May to Monday 24th June 2024

Posted on May 30th, 2024 -

Perfect for landlords and property developers! SWLA Trade Discount members get an extra 10% off on top.

For all ‘Refresh for Less’ deals, visit Search results | Tradepoint (trade-point.co.uk)

SWLA Trago2Business Members – 20% Off This Bank Holiday Weekend at Trago Mills!!

Posted on May 24th, 2024 -


Saturday 25th May until Monday 27th May 2024.

Usual exemptions apply.

If you are an SWLA member and have not yet applied for your Trago2Business card – please contact the SWLA office for details on how to apply. Alternatively, log into the the members area of the SWLA website and see ‘Member Discounts’ in the members area.

Free Landlord Webinar – by Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal – Where are we with Renters Reform? – Tuesday 28th May 2024

Posted on May 17th, 2024 -

This month’s 30 minute Ashley Taylors Legal Webinar looks at the issues and problems that are arising with the Renters Reform proposals. It’s worth knowing them now! Plus there will be information on a few smaller items which need some revision to avoid unnecessary expense whilst renting your property.

Your speaker Martyn Taylor has been conducting Landlord and Tenant cases since July 1980 and his team specialize solely in that subject. He will talk with up to date experience and share what’s happening in the Courts and Law today.

When: Tuesday 28th May 2024  11:30am
Where: Online (Zoom)
Topic: Where are we with Renters Reform?

Register in advance for this webinar:



After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


RENT SMART DEVON – Free Landlord Open Event – 23 May 2024 – Exeter Racecourse

Posted on May 10th, 2024 -

Teignbridge is hosting the following event jointly with East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Mid Devon District Council. SWLA have a stand at the event. All landlords welcome. 

You are invited to join SWLA at the upcoming Rent Smart Devon event, the premier local event for private landlords and anyone involved in letting property.

It is being held on Thursday 23 May at Exeter Racecourse, Haldon Hill, Exeter EX6 7XS and will run from 2.00pm to 8.00pm.


This free event, kindly sponsored by Tozers LLP, will host exhibitions from specialist companies covering many aspects of property management, as well as support organisations, available to help smooth the tenancy pathway. There will be a range of experts on hand to answer your questions.

Doors open at 2pm for networking with presentations in break-out rooms throughout the afternoon and evening.

The final presentation timetable will be published nearer the event but will cover the following topics:

  • What the Renters (Reform) Bill means for you
  • Understanding and addressing damp and mould
  • Exeter Community Energy’s New Retrofit Service
  • Finance Update

Book your place now so you don’t miss out!

Teignbridge is hosting this event jointly with East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Mid Devon District Council. If you are a business and would like to book a stand – please contact the organisers.

Rent Smart Devon Tickets, Thu, May 23, 2024 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite

Waste Management in HMOs

Posted on May 9th, 2024 -

Waste and HMOs: A Guide for Landlords and Managing Agents – by Plymouth City Council

HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) can present unique challenges when it comes to waste management. Landlords and managing agents play a crucial role in ensuring that waste produced by tenants does not pose public health hazards or contribute to litter and fly-tipping issues. With the introduction of new regulations, it’s more important than ever for landlords to be proactive in managing waste within their properties.


Understanding Your Responsibilities

Since October 2018 changes in HMO licensing require landlords to provide adequate facilities for storing and disposing of household waste, recycling, and garden waste. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to penalties and enforcement action. Here are some essential steps landlords can take to effectively manage waste in HMOs:

  1. Encourage Waste Separation

Facilitate the separation of recyclable and non-recyclable waste within the property by providing separate bins for each type of waste. This simple step empowers tenants to manage their waste more efficiently and encourages environmentally responsible behaviour.

  1. Designate Bin Storage Areas

Allocate a specific area within the property boundary for storing wheelie bins between collections. Implementing a small wooden structure can protect bins from damage, unauthorised use, or theft. By keeping bins contained, landlords can prevent obstructions in public areas and maintain a tidy environment.

  1. Ensure Adequate Waste Receptacles

Prior to new tenant arrivals, landlords should verify that there are enough council-issued waste receptacles for the number of occupants. These receptacles should be clearly marked with the property number to avoid confusion.

  1. Display Waste Collection Information

Prominently display information about the local council’s waste collection rules, such as Plymouth City Council’s domestic waste collection rules (Section 46 notice). Providing tenants with clear guidelines helps to prevent non-compliance and fosters cooperation in waste management efforts. Section 46 | PLYMOUTH.GOV.UK

  1. Provide Information Leaflets

Upon each new tenant’s arrival, furnish them with informative leaflets detailing how domestic waste is managed in the area. This resource equips tenants with essential knowledge and reinforces their role in maintaining a clean and orderly environment.


Commercial Waste Disposal

Commercial waste encompasses any waste generated from business or commercial activity. When it comes to rental properties this includes all waste left behind by tenants upon vacating the property, such as fixtures, fittings, furniture and household waste. It also includes any waste produced from the refurbishing of properties, replacement items and the packaging they have been delivered in. Anyone transporting commercial waste must be licensed to do so. Register or renew as a waste carrier, broker or dealer – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


In conclusion, effective waste management in HMOs requires proactive measures from landlords and managing agents. By implementing the strategies outlined above, landlords can uphold their responsibilities, maintain compliance with regulations, and contribute to a cleaner and safer living environment for tenants and the community at large.

Bristol Investor Seminar – 30th May 2024 – 5.30pm – SWLA MEMBERS AND GUESTS WELCOME

Posted on May 1st, 2024 -

Book your tickets to update your knowledge on property investing and learn from experts. For further information and to book your ticket please click here; https://bristollandlordseminar2024.eventbrite.com




Landlord Insurance Partnerships

Posted on April 26th, 2024 -

SWLA are excited to announce a new insurance partnership with Alan Boswell Group.

We can also confirm that Oakfield Insurance are continuing their long standing partnership with us.

These two insurance companies are able to provide SWLA members with comprehensive and competitive landlord insurance.

When your landlord insurance renewal is due, please consider contacting the two insurance companies who are supporting SWLA moving forward. They will gladly provide you with a quote, tailored to your needs.

Alan Boswell Group
01603 216399

Landlord Building Insurance | A Which? Best Buy (alanboswell.com)

Oakfield Insurance
01752 717667

Court Fees Going Up by 10% in May 2024

Posted on April 26th, 2024 -

Possession Claims will increase from £355.00 to £391.00.

Issuing a Warrant of Possession (the Bailiff application fee) will increase from £130.00 to £143.00.

These increases come after a consultation period last year, it’s the first court fee rise since September 2021.

Fees are set to rise every 2 years.

There is hope that the extra revenue will assist the courts in improving court processing times.


SWLA General Speaker Meeting – Busy as Always!

Posted on April 19th, 2024 -

It was lovely to see many members, old and new, at our General Speaker Meeting this week.

Thank you to Phil Keddie, Expert Property Consultant for a brilliant run down of the decisions and plans that landlords should perhaps be making.

And thank you again to our regular speakers, Ian Pring and Sean Bolter of Westcotts Chartered Accountants. A thorough delve into tax changes for landlords is always a popular subject, keeping our members very much on the ball.

If anyone missed the meeting, we can share our speakers presentation please contact the office.

Proposed Rental (Reform) Bill Amendments

Posted on April 3rd, 2024 -

New proposed amendments to the Renters (Reform) Bill have been revealed. The amendments appear to be sensible solutions to a few sticking points in the original Bill.

The Government is planning to table a series of amendments to the Bill, including:

  • A requirement that tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months – creating a six-month tenancy by default
  • Delaying the Section 21 ban – a commitment to a full review of the courts before ending section 21 for existing tenancies
  • Allowing landlords to tailor contracts to the academic year for students
  • Cutting duplication between council licensing schemes and a new national database of rented homes where landlords must register their properties
  • Offering homelessness support from local councils to evicted tenants

We hope that the Government press ahead this side of the general election as any further delays could derail plans by this administration, possibly having serious implications to the Private rented Sector.

MPs return from their Easter recess on 15th April.

You can follow the Renters (Reform) Bill’s progress here; https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3462



Here are the proposed amendments in detail;


This balances protecting landlords’ investment, alongside ensuring tenants can still leave a property after six months if circumstances change. In effect, it creates a default fixed term of six months in all contracts and mirrors a standard break clause in many existing contracts. We are considering exemptions, such as the death of a tenant, domestic abuse, or significant hazards in the property.


The Government has been clear that section 21 will be abolished when the courts are ready. We are taking significant steps to deliver court improvement, including providing £1.2m for court digitisation. We will now also bring forward an amendment to require the Lord Chancellor to publish an assessment on barriers to possession and the readiness of the courts in advance of abolishing section 21 for existing tenancies.


With the introduction of the new Property Portal, some landlord groups have sought reassurance that this will not duplicate the existing licensing system. We will therefore conduct a review of licensing in light of our rental reforms, to reduce burdens on landlords. This review will cover both selective licensing and licensing of HMOs.


At the Commons Committee stage, we introduced a new mandatory possession ground to facilitate student lets, allowing landlords to evict students living together in a house of multiple occupation (HMO). We have heard concerns about student households that do not meet the HMO definition. We will broaden this ground – ensuring it applies to any property that is let by students, as long as landlords give prior notice to the tenants at the start of the tenancy that the ground will apply. This aims to further protect the student market and the supply of student housing.


The Bill currently prevents landlords from marketing or re-letting properties for three months after using possession grounds to move into or sell their property. We will bring forward an amendment to close a loophole, ensuring landlords cannot turn properties into short-term lets during this period.


We will bring forward an amendment to give vulnerable tenants certainty that a prevention duty would be owed when they are served with a valid Section 8 notice. This will mean any household served with an eviction notice can access support from their council to help prevent homelessness.


The Government will introduce an amendment that requires the Secretary of State to lay a statement covering the effectiveness of new possession grounds, and the effect of moving to periodic tenancies and abolishing fixed terms. This will be published within 18 months of the measures being applied to existing tenancies – following an independent review of the new system.


This will include data on the supply, size and location of properties and will be laid before Parliament in the form of a written statement.

Double Council Tax on Empty Homes Takes Effect on 01 April 2024

Posted on March 22nd, 2024 -

Homes in England with no residents will attract a council tax premium of up to 100% from 01 April as tax reforms aimed at supporting people in areas where empty properties prevent them from finding affordable housing come into force.

Changes brought in by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 reduce the time before a property is considered an empty home from two years to one year, meaning that homes that have been empty for one year will be subject to a 100% council tax premium.

The Act also introduced a council tax premium of 100% for substantially furnished homes that are not someone’s sole or main residence, but because councils must determine at least one year in advance of introducing a second homes premium, the earliest a council can utilise the second homes premium is April 2025.

A range of exemptions will apply

Properties undergoing major repairs or structural alterations will have a 12-month exception from the empty homes’ premium.

Properties being actively marketed for sale or let will have a 12-month exception from the empty homes’ premium. This will provide protections for landlords whose rental property may become empty in between lets or have a gap between tenancy agreements. It also covers properties where an offer to rent has been accepted but the tenant is not yet entitled to occupy the property because the tenancy has not yet started. The exception can also be used where the sale is taking time to complete because it is part of a chain.

Inherited properties will have a 12-month exception after probate or letters of administration have been granted. Where there are cases that merit a longer exception period, or a higher level of discount, councils can continue to exercise their discretion.

Article Abridged from Propertymark

Double tax on empty homes takes effect on 1 April 2024 | Propertymark

Grants Available to Upgrade Off-Gas Properties in Plymouth

Posted on March 15th, 2024 -

Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) is an award-winning local charity with 10 years of experience supporting households in Plymouth. Its Future Fit team is working in partnership with Plymouth City Council to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their properties through the Government-funded Home Upgrade Grant (HUG2).

Am I eligible?

HUG2 provides funding towards the cost of upgrades for landlords that meet the following criteria:

  • The Landlord owns a total of 4 or less privately rented properties.
  • The house has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated D or below and does not use mains gas for heating.
  • The current tenants are either located in an eligible postcode area OR have a total gross annual household income of £36,000 or less (excluding disability benefits)


What upgrades can I have?
Every home is different, but potential improvements may include:

  • Cavity wall, loft or underfloor insulation
  • Air Source Heat Pumps
  • High Heat Retention Storage Heaters
  • Solar panels
  • Heating controls


What are the benefits?
Improving the energy efficiency of your properties can:

  • Improve relations with tenants
  • Lower bills for tenants
  • Make homes warmer and healthier for tenants to live in
  • Help safeguard against future legislative risks associated with EPC Bands.
  • Result in fewer maintenance problems (e.g. less mould and damp)
  • Potentially increase the value of the property

How do I access the grant?
Contact PEC’s Advisors who can assess your eligibility and explain the process – 01752 477990 futurefit@plymouthenergycommunity.com

You can also assess your eligibility for this, and other grant schemes using our online tool at plymouthenergycommunity.com/future-fit

If you have a property outside of Plymouth please contact the relevant Local Authority for more information.






RENT SMART DEVON – Free Landlord Open Event – 23 May 2024 – Exeter Racecourse

Posted on March 15th, 2024 -

Teignbridge is hosting the following event jointly with East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Mid Devon District Council. SWLA have a stand at the event. All landlords welcome. 

You are invited to join SWLA at the upcoming Rent Smart Devon event, the premier local event for private landlords and anyone involved in letting property.

It is being held on Thursday 23 May at Exeter Racecourse, Haldon Hill, Exeter EX6 7XS and will run from 2.00pm to 8.00pm.


This free event, kindly sponsored by Tozers LLP, will host exhibitions from specialist companies covering many aspects of property management, as well as support organisations, available to help smooth the tenancy pathway. There will be a range of experts on hand to answer your questions.

Doors open at 2pm for networking with presentations in break-out rooms throughout the afternoon and evening.

The final presentation timetable will be published nearer the event but will cover the following topics:

  • What the Renters (Reform) Bill means for you
  • Understanding and addressing damp and mould
  • Exeter Community Energy’s New Retrofit Service
  • Finance Update

Book your place now so you don’t miss out!

Teignbridge is hosting this event jointly with East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Mid Devon District Council. If you are a business and would like to book a stand – please contact the organisers.

Rent Smart Devon Tickets, Thu, May 23, 2024 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite

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